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Video: Creative baby photos inspire Web sensation

  1. Transcript of: Creative baby photos inspire Web sensation

    ANN CURRY, co-host: Back now at 8:37. Stand by for cute because this morning on TODAY'S MOMS we're talking about capturing the dreams of a newborn with a camera and some creative props. Imagine your tiny one as Little Bo Peep , or maybe here she is conquering the universe or able to leap tall buildings in a -- with a single bound. Well, Adele Enersen chronicled her daughter's napping adventures and turned then into a new book. It's called " When My Baby Dreams ." Adele , good morning to you.

    Ms. ADELE ENERSEN (Author, "When My Baby Dreams"): Good morning to you.

    CURRY: So now listen. You're not a professional photographer.

    Ms. ENERSEN: No, not at all.

    CURRY: You're a new mom.

    Ms. ENERSEN: Yeah.

    CURRY: What gave you the idea to create the images?

    Ms. ENERSEN: Well, when Mila was newborn she was sleeping a lot and I wanted to be with her. So the only thing I could do was watch her to sleep or take pictures of her.

    CURRY: I see.

    Ms. ENERSEN: So once upon a time she'd fall asleep on the blanket on the floor so I just get this idea to put some things around her to make the picture more interesting and look like a little forest, so that's how it started.

    CURRY: So it kind of -- it was to delight you really?

    Ms. ENERSEN: Yeah.

    CURRY: And to let -- maybe share the picture with your friends. So you started writing about it on the Internet , and you created a kind of a blog.

    Ms. ENERSEN: Yeah.

    CURRY: And you got this huge response. Were you surprised by the response?

    Ms. ENERSEN: Yeah, definitely because the blog was for my family and friends.

    CURRY: OK, so then it spread. So people can look at this image with Mila on a -- riding an elephant. But some of these pictures are really creative. I mean, how many would you say that you took?

    Ms. ENERSEN: I think about 50.

    CURRY: And what inspired you when you take 50 photographs of your daughter?

    Ms. ENERSEN: Of course, Mila .

    CURRY: Uh-huh. Mila herself?

    Ms. ENERSEN: Yeah, yeah.

    CURRY: So you were thinking about what she would be possibly dreaming?

    Ms. ENERSEN: Yeah.

    CURRY: And you'd been doing some -- had you read some books to her so that you could get some inspiration from that?

    Ms. ENERSEN: Yeah, from books and movies and her clothing and I think...

    CURRY: And so then how did it -- how is it possible that this blog was so popular that now you've been able to turn it into a book?

    Ms. ENERSEN: Well, I think it was because people rely on those pictures so much that people likes to see sleeping babies and beautiful pictures so that was the reason.

    CURRY: Well, just looking at these pictures makes anyone I think, feel a little more relaxed.

    Ms. ENERSEN: Yeah.

    CURRY: This one is very creative. How did you make that surfboard?

    Ms. ENERSEN: Yeah. It's just paper.

    CURRY: A piece of paper?

    Ms. ENERSEN: A piece of paper, yeah. There is piece of paper and one -- two blankets and some scarf.

    CURRY: And she seems to be reaching for the balloons in this one...

    Ms. ENERSEN: Yeah.

    CURRY: ...which is really nice. And was she always asleep or was she awake for some of it?

    Ms. ENERSEN: Yeah, she was asleep in all those pictures .

    CURRY: Lucky you that your baby sleeps so much.

    Ms. ENERSEN: Yeah, well, she used to. Yeah.

    CURRY: Because now what, she's 14 months?

    Ms. ENERSEN: Yeah.

    CURRY: Yeah, so there you go. Now she's awake a lot more. This one is delightful. So what's your recommendation to moms at home who are listening to this thinking I'd like to do that. I mean, you know, what would be a good way to do it?

    Ms. ENERSEN: Well, I think that your baby doesn't need to sleep. In those pictures , you can have perfectly beautiful pictures when she or he is awake. And just use things you -- ordinary household items you find around yourself so it's -- I think it's pretty easy, just try it.

    CURRY: Uh-huh. You did it using natural light which is a good thing.

    Ms. ENERSEN: Yeah.

    CURRY: No flash.

    Ms. ENERSEN: No flash.

    CURRY: By a window or something?

    Ms. ENERSEN: Yeah.

    CURRY: During a nice warm sunny day.

    Ms. ENERSEN: Yeah.

    CURRY: And was there a specific camera you that you used?

    Ms. ENERSEN: I actually used very cheap digital pocket cam.

    CURRY: Oh.

    Ms. ENERSEN: It's nothing special, so you don't need to have fancy equipment to do these kind of pictures . You can use your iPhone or something else.

    CURRY: You just need to be inspired with love...

    Ms. ENERSEN: Yeah.

    CURRY: ...which is what happened here. And now you're expecting another child.

    Ms. ENERSEN: I am.

    CURRY: So little Mila 's going to have a little sibling .

    Ms. ENERSEN: Yeah.

    CURRY: And probably there are going to be some more pictures .

    Ms. ENERSEN: I think I have to do something for her or him -- I don't know yet. But I don't know if I'm going to do similar pictures , but something.

    CURRY: Well, congratulations.

    Ms. ENERSEN: Thank you.

    CURRY: I mean to do something completely out of the box . I know you work in advertising.

    Ms. ENERSEN: Yeah.

    CURRY: It's completely not even related to photography in your particular skill set. And here's what you've done.

    Ms. ENERSEN: Yeah.

    CURRY: Well, congratulations.

    Ms. ENERSEN: Thank you so much .

    CURRY: What a great idea. Born out of love, it's gone far. Anyway, we've got -- the book again is called -- the book is called " When My Baby Dreams ." There you go. Coming up next, how do you bring that outdoor grill taste indoors during the cold winter months? We're going to tell you how. But first, this is TODAY on NBC .

By Laura T. Coffey
TODAY contributor
updated 1/3/2012 8:30:03 AM ET 2012-01-03T13:30:03

Travel the world over and you’ll find mothers who attach great importance to their babies’ naptimes. For them, a nap is a sacred interlude that is not to be trifled with; their motto is, in essence, “Let sleeping babies lie.”

But back in June 2010, a new mom in Finland found that her tiny baby girl slept soundly. Very, very soundly. So soundly, in fact, that the mom felt emboldened to take a little chance during a nice, quiet siesta.

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Unaware that what she was about to do would lead to a book deal and a blog with millions of fans, mom Adele Enersen used blankets, pillows and stuffed animals to create a little forest scene on a carpeted floor in her home. She carefully carried 2-week-old Mila to the “set” as she slept, then topped the scene off with daisies from a bouquet she had received in the hospital after giving birth.

Enersen snapped a photo of Mila that she knew would be a hit with loved ones. When she posted it on Facebook, though, her friends went bonkers. Their reaction was so encouraging that she took a photo of Mila sleeping in a new scene the next day ... and again the next day ... and then another idea came to her.

“I started to think that a lot of our family is not on Facebook, and that’s what made me think of creating a blog,” Enersen, 33, said in an interview from her home in Helsinki. “That was the reason that my blog was in English — so our family could read it no matter where they lived.”

Slideshow: While her baby sleeps, mom makes infant into art (on this page)
Image: Baby Mila as an astronaut
Adele Enersen
This photo of Mila as a little astronaut incorporates ordinary items from around the kitchen: A paper plate “helmet,” and tin-foil stars. The cord is from the Enersens’ computer.

Just two weeks after launching her Mila’s Daydreams blog, Enersen gasped: Her site had almost 1 million visitors.

“At first I was really scared,” Enersen recalled, noting that her maternal instincts kicked in as she fretted about her family’s privacy. “I thought, ‘What have I done?!’ ”

But a flood of positive feedback from parents and grandparents around the world made Enersen and her husband stop and think.

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“The Internet is so full of bad things, and my blog was only trying to [share] beautiful things. We realized that people need to have something like that,” Enersen said. “Once I understood this couldn’t be stopped, I knew I just had to own these photos so I can protect them.”

A surge of creativity
Enersen’s whimsical photos of her sleeping newborn daughter are now captured in “When My Baby Dreams,” a photographic picture book that went on sale Tuesday, Jan. 3. The book contains photos that Enersen featured on her blog along with other images that she refrained from publishing until now.

The book opens enthusiastically with this explanation: “After Mila was born, I was so excited, I couldn’t sleep! But Mila wanted to sleep for hours and hours, so while she rested all I could do was stare at my baby and wonder ... What was she dreaming about? After weeks of watching Mila sleep, I finally started to see her dreams, so I decided to take pictures of them.”

Image: Baby Mila as a bookworm
Adele Enersen
“I felt like I was brain-dead when I was pregnant, but then after giving birth my creativity just exploded for a while,” said mom Adele Enersen, who took this photo of her baby girl as a little bookworm.

What follows is a series of adventures enjoyed by Mila in her dreams. Appropriately, the first photograph in the book is the forest-scene photo that started it all. Then, with a little help from colorful fabric and small props from around the house, the adventures become ever more fanciful. Mila travels through space as an astronaut, rides a leopard, towers over a city like a giant, surfs in the ocean, soars across the sky like a superhero and sprouts a butterfly’s wings. Enersen took all the photographs when Mila was 2 weeks to 4 months old.

Each photo is mesmerizing — even though Enersen jokes that she’s a more serious “fabric scruncher” than a photographer. She said she’s been astonished to have her work compared with Anne Geddes’.

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“I didn’t really think of real photographers in those moments — I was just a mother taking pictures of her own baby,” she said.

Enersen, who is on maternity leave from her job as a copywriter and concept designer in advertising, said her pregnancy with Mila was challenging. She had to spend the final weeks of it on bed rest.

Image: Book cover for "When My Baby Dreams"
Adele Enersen
Adele Enersen's new picture book, "When My Baby Dreams," goes on sale Tuesday, Jan. 3.

“I felt like I was brain-dead when I was pregnant, but then after giving birth my creativity just exploded for a while,” Enersen said. “I had ideas every day — I’d realize that my old cardigan could look like an elephant, and from Mila’s clothes I got a lot of inspiration.”

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Enersen is now pregnant with her second child. She and her husband, composer Lasse Enersen, are excitedly anticipating their newest family member’s arrival in the spring.

Does a new baby mean that a book sequel must be inevitable? Enersen said she isn’t sure yet.

“He or she deserves something, so I’m sure I’ll do something,” she said. “It’s just that Mila is a very wild toddler right now, so I’m not sure how I’m going to keep her out of the [new baby’s] pictures!”

To see more images of Mila’s dreams, check out this fun slideshow, visit Adele Enersen’s blog or go to this Mila’s Daydreams Facebook page. To order a copy of Enersen’s new book “When My Baby Dreams,” click here.

Need a Coffey break? Friend TODAY.com writer Laura T. Coffey on Facebook, follow her on Twitter  or read more of her stories at LauraTCoffey.com.

© 2013 NBCNews.com  Reprints

Photos: While her baby sleeps, mom makes infant into art

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  1. Mila’s daydreams

    “When My Baby Dreams,” Adele Enersen's first picture book, went on sale on Jan. 3, 2012 and featured a selection of photos from Enersen’s popular Mila’s Daydreams blog. The forest-scene image pictured here is the first whimsical photo Enersen took of her newborn daughter at their home in Finland. (Adele Enersen) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. ‘Petting a little lamb’

    Adele Enersen, 34, works as a copywriter and concept designer in advertising. She used blankets, clothing and other props from around the house to stage each photo of her sleeping newborn daughter. (Adele Enersen) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. A baby bookworm

    Enersen happily remembers the moment it first occurred to her that she could take cute photos of her baby girl Mila by modifying the background. “One time she fell asleep in a funny position and she looked like a little fencer,” Enersen recalled. “My husband, who is a composer, put his conductor baton in her hand, and we took a photo.” En garde! (Adele Enersen) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Where no baby has gone before

    This photo of Mila as a little astronaut incorporates ordinary items from around the kitchen: a paper plate “helmet,” and tin-foil stars. The cord is from the Enersens’ computer. (Adele Enersen) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Up, up and away

    According to Enersen’s new book, “When my baby dreams of flying, she uses her birthday balloons on the way up ...” (Adele Enersen) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Clotheslined

    “... then makes an especially soft landing. But her socks are even softer!” (Adele Enersen) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. ‘A perfectly pink world’

    Several photos in “When My Baby Dreams” prominently feature the color pink – including this image in which Mila “strolls through a cotton candy park.” (Adele Enersen) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Riding on an Indian elephant

    Enersen used one of her old cardigan sweaters to create the elephant pictured here. “I used a lot of blankets and pillows because I have some kind of a thing for pillows,” Enersen explained. “I also used a lot of scarves and my clothing and Mila’s clothing. ... Oh, and a lot of cloth nappies!” (Adele Enersen) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Surfer girl

    In her dreams, baby Mila loves to catch waves in the morning. (Adele Enersen) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Mom and baby together

    Adele Enersen, pictured here with her daughter Mila, has given a lot of thought to how Mila will someday feel about her unique baby pictures. “I mean, I know that when she’s a teenager she’s going to hate me anyway,” Enersen said. “But I think overall she’s going to love it because it’s something so special.” (Adele Enersen) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Baby shower gift

    Adele Enersen’s “When My Baby Dreams” book – published by Balzer + Bray, a division of HarperCollins – went on sale on Jan. 3, 2012. To order a copy, click here. To see more images of Mila’s daydreams, visit Enersen’s blog or go to this Mila’s Daydreams Facebook page. (Adele Enersen) Back to slideshow navigation
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  1. Adele Enersen
    Above: Slideshow (11) While her baby sleeps, mom makes infant into art
  2. Ryden-Raver LLC
    Slideshow (24) Sleeping beauties

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